This is Max.
Max is the Big Cat in the house, about 12 years old, and definitely in charge of his domain. He is confident and proud cat, if slightly past his prime, and he loves his people. Max likes to relax.
This is Erma.
Erma is about 12 years old, and knows she is not the Big Cat. She is neurotic and skittish, but still loves her people. Erma likes to play dead.
Max and Erma have reached a mutual understanding about the social order of the house. She has given all authority to Max, and they usually get along just fine.
This is Opal.
Opal is about 3 months old, and full of energy. Opal likes to play.
Opal also likes to challenge the social order of the house. Usually, the Big Cat gets the tuna can first … until now.
Max is not impressed with Opal’s youthful exuberance, but he still knows he is in charge.
Erma is terrified.
Erma’s entire understanding of the social order has been turned inside-out, and her normally quiet home has become a house of horror. She growls and hisses defensively whenever Opal approaches, and she is too nervous to relax inside the house. Opal just wants to play with Erma.
We expected Erma to tolerate a new kitty better than Max, but the opposite has been true. I’m hoping that their dispute will go away after a month or so, because we don’t want Erma to be so stressed out. Of course there’s nothing we can really do, as the cats have to sort things out for themselves.
(Opal pictures by me; all others by Nicole. Mouse-over for captions.)